One of my favorite things to do during this season of giving and thanks is to simply drive around and admire the lights. Even as a little girl, even when it wasn't Christmas at all, I would beg my mom to take me out to see the lights of the night time... even just the lit up grocery store signs would make me giggle and smile.
For the very first time this year we will be celebrating Christmas at our home in Texas rather than traveling to Atlanta, so I couldn't wait to put up our very own lights to join in on the season. Something about light still brings warmth and joy to my heart, and as I ponder this phenomenon, I realize that my own journey has many "lights" that lift me up when I am having a bad day, and bring a sense of ease to my soul when I let fear or darkness ease in a little too much.
The brilliant and beloved Martin Luther King once said "But I know somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars." Lately, I have been using this blog as an outlet for my feelings when I am having a hard or dark day. Most of our days are actually good, and I am delighted to say that even amidst that chaos, I have found a peace in the day to day experience of being the matriarch of my beloved family of 5. But I must say that I am truly grateful for those "darker days" as they allow me the opportunity to practice patience, to practice that art of maintaining an attitude of gratitude, and to have a much greater appreciation of the many lights in my life that bring color and brilliance to my family, my perspective, and my overall life experience.
I have to say that most of the "lights" in my life come in the form of people. People to help me choose laughter over tears, who demonstrate love and encouragement in their words and actions, and who, like me, can see the love and light in Avery's eyes. All three of my precious daughters are a huge source of light to my soul. Each of them, in very different ways, afford me the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual every single day, and I am so grateful to be so lucky to be their mom, and watch them change and develop into their own very unique little people. Disability or not.
Earlier this week I had the chance to meet another beaming light. It was a quick encounter, but it came just in time to illuminate a dark day, and I want to share it with you. I was in the waiting room at Avery's OT appointment and I met a handsome little boy, about 10 years old or so. He was playing and communicating with his babysitter, but not in a way that you might think. I realized that he was non-verbal, and had Autism... and was then so excited to see him use his electronic device to be able to express social gestures, wants, humor, and needs. It was a touch screen device that he could type in or touch a series of pictures. Then it would "talk" for him, allowing him to verbally communicate without saying a word! Very cool, right!? I thought so, and I can't tell you how much hope and light this brought to my day!
Avery is doing great on her touch screen ipod and ipad. And we have purchased several app's that should do this same thing for her one day. She is pretty preoccupied with her games, songs, and videos on it right now, but I am very hopeful that in time she too will be able to use her very own device to communicate with us in some capacity or another!
Sharing my fears, thoughts, anxieties, heart and soul on this forum has it's pros and cons. I can't please everyone, and that certainly isn't my purpose. I write on here because it is cathartic to me, and because I have family and friends who love Avery and our family and want to hear about our journey. If you know me at all, then I hope you know that at the end of the day, I love my life... the good parts, bad parts and ugly parts. They weave together to form a colorful, beautiful, warm and empowering experience that I wouldn't trade with anyone's. Even disability and disease can't weaken the bonds or limit the love, and through the darker days, I am able to see more light than I ever imagined. We have each other, and that is the brightest part of all.